Joel Carillet/Getty Images Bed bug bites are often found on the abdomen in groups or clusters. Joel Carillet/Getty Images
Bed bug bites are itchy, annoying, and just plain creepy. Although the bites are generally harmless, it's important to get rid of bed bugs, otherwise they will keep biting you.
Meanwhile, there are a few at-home treatment methods you can use to relieve the itchiness from your bed bug bites. If those don't work, you may want to see your doctor for stronger, prescription medication.
Here's how you can recognize bed bug bites and treat them effectively.
Bed bug bites appear as small red marks on light skin, and could appear as small dark spots on skin that is darker shades, says Sharleen St. Surin-Lord, MD, medical director at Visage Dermatology and Aesthetics Center in Washington D.C.
Usually, they'll appear in clusters of 3 to 5 bites in a zig-zag pattern that reflects where the bug has moved on your body. Although bed bugs can bite anywhere, the bites tend to be concentrated on the abdomen and arms, St. Surin-Lord says.
Bed bug bites tend to be a little smaller than mosquito bites, though it may be difficult to tell them apart from flea bites.
"The difference is that you normally can see the fleas jumping around or the mosquitos, after they have bitten you," St. Surin-Lord says. "Bed bugs are a little more clandestine."
This comparison table can help you diagnose your type of bug bite:
The major symptoms of bed bug bites typically include redness and itchiness.
You can treat these symptoms by first washing the bite site with soapy water to remove any dirt or debris. Then, you can try these at-home remedies:
The itching from bed bug bites can last for up to two weeks, St. Surin-Lord says. That's often prolonged if the infestation hasn't been addressed and the person continues to get new bites.
If you're dealing with severe itchiness despite using the remedies above, you can reach out to your doctor for a more powerful prescription anti-itch cream.
In some cases, St. Surin-Lord prescribes oral steroids to people who have severe itching caused by bed bug bites. The oral steroids can reduce inflammation and itchiness in people who don't get relief from topical creams. They can also help prevent further health complications from the overwhelming itchiness.
"Bedbugs become dangerous when a large part of the body is affected, causing intense itching and scratching, leading to open, wounded, bleeding skin," St. Surin-Lord says. "This now creates a portal for bacteria and skin infections."
Though rare, if you develop a fever alongside your bites, you should check in with your doctor, since that could indicate an underlying infection, St. Surin-Lord says.
Although bed bug bites are generally harmless, they can be very uncomfortable. If you're not getting relief from at-home treatments, reach out to your doctor.
In addition, it's important to treat the infestation and get rid of the bed bugs they will likely keep biting people until they are professionally exterminated.
"No matter what you decide to do, you must rid your home of the bed bugs," St. Surin-Lord says. "If you were at a hotel and feel that you were bitten in their bed and were diagnosed with bed bugs, you should contact that hotel so that they have their rooms treated."
How to identify and treat bed bug bites - MSN
- Bed Bugs: How to Get Rid of Them Quickly and Effectively? - Gilmore Health News - January 27th, 2021
- Bed bug bites: The time it takes for bites to heal - how to tell you've been bitten - Express - August 5th, 2020
- How to get rid of bed bugs and how to treat bites - The Irish Sun - July 29th, 2020
- Bed bug bites: The subtle sensation on your skin that means youve been bitten - Express - July 24th, 2020
- How to get rid of bed bugs and how to treat bites - The Sun - July 23rd, 2020
- Bed bugs: The three warnings signs you may be facing a bed bug problem in your home - Express - July 17th, 2020
- How to get rid of bed bugs: Four simple tips to eradicate them from your bed - Express - July 13th, 2020
- Bed bugs: The two major warning signs you may be dealing with an infestation - Express - July 9th, 2020
- Safe Ways To Kill Pests On Your Property Without Toxic Chemicals - RealtyBizNews: Real Estate News - RealtyBizNews - June 17th, 2020
- Tourists trip to Dublin ruined after she is bitten 77 times by bed bugs in Hotel Riu Plaza The Gresham - The Irish Sun - December 10th, 2019
- How to Know if You Have Bed Bug Bites - TripSavvy - May 20th, 2019
- Should I Use an Anti Bed Bug Lotion to Fend Off Those ... - April 5th, 2019
- How To Get Rid of Bedbugs: Pictures, Symptoms, and Signs - December 23rd, 2018
- 5+ Best Anti-Itch Cream for Bug Bites (for 2018) Lotion ... - November 12th, 2018
- Bed Bug Bites and Pictures: How Can You Tell A Bed Bug Has ... - September 22nd, 2018
- Bed Bug Treatment - September 18th, 2018
- Best Corticosteroid Cream for Bed Bug Bites - September 16th, 2018
- Chigger bites vs bed bug bites: Identify bug bite differences - August 21st, 2018
- Bed Bug Bites - Kill All Bed Bugs - June 25th, 2018
- Dust Mite Bites or Bed Bug Bites? - Bed Bug Treatment Site - June 3rd, 2018
- Beware of bed bugs: 7 things to know about the blood-sucking critters - The Straits Times - August 15th, 2017
- Homeowners dealing with record highs in bed bug infestations - Palm Beach Post - June 5th, 2017
- Bed Bug Infestation: Story of bedbugs attacking baby - March 1st, 2017
- Treating skin diseases with povidone-iodine - Philippine Star - February 28th, 2017
- Bed Bug Bites: Pictures, Patterns, Symptoms and Remedy - July 21st, 2016
- What Are Bed Bugs and What Do the Bites Look Like? - July 21st, 2016
- Bedbugs | Treatment - July 21st, 2016
- bed bug - Cimex lectularius Linnaeus - July 21st, 2016
- bed Bug Bites: Photos And Information - July 21st, 2016
- World Pest Control Exterminator Maps Bed Bug Reports ... - July 21st, 2016
- Bedbugs | American Academy of Dermatology - July 21st, 2016
- Treating Bed Bug Bites / How to Treat Bed Bug Bites - July 21st, 2016
- Bed Bug Bites & Rash: Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment ... - July 21st, 2016
- How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Scars and Marks | eHow - July 21st, 2016
- How to Check for Bed Bug Bites | eHow - July 21st, 2016
- Bed Bug Repellent (Repellant). - July 21st, 2016
- Bedbugs | American Academy of Dermatology - June 21st, 2016
- How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Scars and Marks | eHow - June 21st, 2016
- Bedbugs | Treatment - June 21st, 2016
- How to Check for Bed Bug Bites | eHow - June 21st, 2016
- Bed Bug Bites Vs Contact dermatitis: How to tell the ... - June 21st, 2016
- What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? - Bad Bed Bugs: Photos of ... - November 2nd, 2015
- FAQ List for Bed Bugs - Cornell University - October 28th, 2015
- Bed Bug Bites | Bed Bugs Use Calamine Lotion To Treat ... - October 24th, 2015
- Bed Bug Bites | Bed Bugs Use Calamine Lotion To Treat ... - October 22nd, 2015
- Bedbugs: Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome - October 22nd, 2015
- Bed Bug Information and Treatment - Learn More - October 4th, 2015
- Bed Bug Prevention & Inspection: Avoid Bed Bugs at Home - September 25th, 2015
- Bed Bug Prevention & Inspection: Avoid Bed Bugs at Home - September 25th, 2015
- Bedbugs: See What Bites Look Like and Learn the Treatment - July 2nd, 2015
- Bed Bug Bites: Bed Bug Bite Pictures, Treatment Guide - June 22nd, 2015
- What to Put on Bed Bug Bites: Stopping the Itch - June 20th, 2015
- Bed Bug Bites :; How to treat a bed bug bite - June 14th, 2015
- Treating Bed Bug Bites - Bed Bugs Guide - May 14th, 2015
- Bed bug images Bedbugger.com - April 4th, 2015
- Bed Bug Bites and Quick Help including these Infestations ... - March 26th, 2015
- Hometown South Pinellas - March 26th, 2015
- Buy Bed Bugs Control Product at Economic Price - Pestmall - March 13th, 2015
- How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs | How To Kill Bed Bugs - February 20th, 2015
- Bed Bug Control Guide - Bed Bug Extermination & Killer ... - January 29th, 2015
- BedBugs.org - The Web's #1 Bed Bug Resource - December 21st, 2014
- How to Treat a Bed Bug Rash - Bedbugs - December 1st, 2014
- Battle to take bite out of bed bug problem - November 26th, 2014
- What are bed bugs? And how do you get rid of them? - November 17th, 2014
- Bed Bugs Guide: How do I know if I have bed bugs ... - October 31st, 2014
- Bed Bugs: How to Get Rid of Bedbugs Orkin.com - October 28th, 2014
- Top Ten Tips to Prevent or Control Bed Bugs | Bed Bugs ... - October 28th, 2014
- How to get rid of bed bugs, stop bed bug bites (Bedbugger ... - October 28th, 2014
- Bed bug control techniques - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - October 28th, 2014
- What are Bed Bugs? | Bed Bug Symptoms | Bed-Bugs.net - October 28th, 2014
- What are Bed Bugs? | Bed Bug Symptoms | Bed-Bugs.net - October 27th, 2014
- Top Ten Tips to Prevent or Control Bed Bugs | Bed Bugs ... - August 23rd, 2014
- bed bugs photos, eggs, cast skins, stains; bed bug bites ... - August 23rd, 2014
- The Herb Gardener: Natural Bed Bug Control - August 23rd, 2014
- After Bed Bug Complaints, Lodi Theater Closed Until Thursday To Eliminate Insect Problem - August 20th, 2014
- Bed Bug | United States, Bed Bug Pest Control Exterminator ... - July 23rd, 2014
- Bed Bug - June 2nd, 2014
- Bed bug - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - June 2nd, 2014
- Bed Bug Bites Pictures and Photos of Bedbug Attacks - June 2nd, 2014
- Mosquito Bite Pictures Vs Bed Bug Bite Pictures - June 2nd, 2014